Female Golden Whistler assuming male characters

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Female Golden Whistler assuming male characters
From: "Greg and Val Clancy" <>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 15:57:29 +1000
When we were banding birds along the Orara River Coutts Crossing on April 26 
Jan Patterson caught two Golden Whistlers among other birds.  Both had been 
banded at the site on 26 May 2012.  Both were in the grey ‘female’ plumage when 
banded and both had some yellow feathers on underparts and one had some black 
feathers around the eye.  This bird was in full adult male plumage when 
retrapped but the other bird still had the same plumage as when banded.  If it 
was a male it would have assumed full adult male plumage at the time of being 
retrapped so this bird was, almost certainly, an adult female.  It has been 
known for some time that adult female Golden Whistlers may have some yellow 
marking on their underparts.  This assumption of male characters by old female 
birds is apparently known in other species such as the Domestic Fowl and is 
apparently due to the deterioration of the gonads.  There are photos of this 
bird along with a report on the banding on my blog at: .  I have also published a post 
on observing and photographing a Powerful Owl at the Coffs Harbour Botanical 



Dr Greg. P. Clancy

Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide

| PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460

| 02 6649 3153  | 0429 601 960

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